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B.C. residents will not be able to select their preferred version of the COVID-19 vaccine

AstraZeneca was recently approved, but not recommended for 65 years and older
Shipments of the newly-authorized AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Canada.

B.C. residents will get no choice of which version of the COVID-19 vaccine they will receive once it is their turn to be immunized.

“Let me be very clear, the vaccine you are offered is the best vaccine,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday (March 2).

“All the vaccines we have available for use in Canada are safe and effective.”

Henry explained that the foundation of B.C.’s immunization program has been built around the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which both have to be stored at very cold temperatures.

The newly-approved AstraZeneca vaccine is fridge-stable, allowing for a more flexible deployment.

That vaccine, however, is not approved for use in anyone over the age of 65.

Mass clinics for those over age 80 starting up in B.C. later this month will use either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, Henry said.

“No, you won’t have a choice between Pfizer and Moderna. You will take the one that is there in front of you.”

Henry said B.C. will use the AstraZeneca vaccine to immunize essential workers and first responders while the province works its way down the older age brackets in its vaccine plan.

She urged the public that when the time comes for your turn at vaccination, don’t wait.

“I would not suggest people wait. These vaccines are all good and they all work, and we’ve seen that across the world.”

As of this publication (March 4), B.C. has administered 289,809 doses of its 382,740 supplied COVID-19 vaccines, including 203,193 first doses and 86,616 second doses.

Of the grand total, 229,363 are the Pfizer vaccine and 60,446 are Moderna.

- with a file from Kyle Balzer, PrinceGeorgeMatters